Rewards and Crowns Part 3

Judgment Seat of Christ and Doubtful Things - Eating Meat or Vegetarianism from Romans 14

One of the principles for Christian living is that all believers are under Christian liberty. This means if some activity or behaviour in the Bible is not particularly condemned we are free to do or not do that behaviour and we shouldn't judge a fellow believer (or in some sense unbelievers) is they view and behave differently in participating in an activity we don't think is right for ourselves as Christians but that isn't particularly condemned in the Bible. We instead are supposed to receive our brother in Christ even if we disagree on some secondary and optional things in the Christian faith where these disagreements are about matters of Christian liberty or in disagreements - doubtful disputations. Instead if we feel strongly about these things, even if we don't have basis in God's word, we should just agree to disagree with our brother or sister in Christ (or in some sense) with an unsaved person but still have fellowship with our brother or sister in Christ or try to still maintain a relationship with an unsaved person we are try to win to Christ and focus on the more important issues like the Gospel of Jesus Christ that He died for our sins and rose from the dead to give us new life. In verse 2 it is talking about Christian liberty with regard to eating especially whether particular Christians believe we can eat all things including red meat or some who practice vegetarianism and might believe it is more spiritual or kind to animals just to eat plant meat such as nuts, grains, fruits and vegetables. Believers have Christian liberty here and are not to judge our brother or sister who thinks and acts differently. God also says in this scripture passage that He receives both him or her that eats meat or he or she that doesn't such as a vegetarian and is able to make him or her stand (even if another or other brothers or sisters don't receive him or her or are receptive to let them stand in their Christian faith in this or other matters of Christian liberty or doubtful things.) God or the Lord Jesus is our master or judge not any other fellow believer no matter how much authority he or she seems to have. The scripture passage about Christian liberty and eating or not eating meat and that in doubtful things we are only accountable to God and not to fellow believers is in Romans 14 as follows:

Scripture Passage from Romans 14 About Christian Liberty, Eating Meat and the Believers Only Being Accountable to God

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. Romans 14:1-4

Description About Debatable Things Concerning Keeping or Not Keeping Holidays for Christians from Romans 14

In the early (1st century) Church the debate about what holidays for Christians to keep was primarily about the Jewish holidays of the Sabbaths, New Moons and Jewish Feast Days or Feasts of the Lord such as Passover, Pentecost, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles as there was then a strong Jewish componenent of the Church. For Christians or the Church today although the above is still a legitimate issue, the more common application of debatable things or matters of Christian liberty in this area is with Christmas and Easter and also in some ways with other holidays that can have a Christian application such as Mother's Day, Father's Day, Canada Day or Independence Day in the United States, Valentine's Day, Rememberance Day New Year's Eve or Thanksgiving. There is not anything in the Bible that says whether Christians should or shouldn't keep these holidays either individually or as a local Church. This is also something that individual churches or Christians should remember is a matter of personal choice and Christian liberty and that we should accept or respect the choices of other churches or Christians that observe or celebrate or don't observe or celebrate these holidays different than we do as long as we and the other Christians or churches don't do anything that is definitely unscriptural but this isn't usually the case. Whatever we do we should do it with clear conscience and conviction and thanksgiving to God of whether we celebrate or observe these holidays or don't observe them and accept that other Christians or local churches might be convicted to celebrate or observe or not celebrate or not observe these holidays different than we do as this is a matter of Christian liberty. We are only accountable to God not other Christians in this and many other matters. Other examples of Christian liberty are how involved we think Christians should be in the political process, the pursuit and use and funding for science and technology, the issue of environmentalism versus development etc. However in these or other issues the Christian should keep God and the Lord Jesus Christ first in our lives and not these other issues or these other issues can become false gods in our hearts, minds and lives. The scripture passage about keeping or not keeping holidays as part of Christian liberty in Romans 14 is as follows:

Scripture Reference from Romans 14 Concerning Keeping or Not Keeping Holidays

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth(does) not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. Romans 14:5-6

All Christians or God's Spiritual Children are Redeemed (Bought) by Jesus' Blood and are Accountable to Him Foremost from Romans 14

As Christians, unlike the unsaved, we are not to live to ourselves. In both living and in our death Christians and God's redeemed or bought back people we are to live and die to the Lord Jesus Christ and to God the Father through Him and not to ourselves. The purpose of the Lord Jesus Christ dying on the cross and rising from the dead was that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living (especially those who have trusted Him voluntarily as Lord). As Christians in debatable things we are not to judge one another but are all to count ourselves as accountable to God through Jesus Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ immediately after the rapture. There are things that the Bible says quite clearly how Christians are to act, speak or think. Christians should follow God's instructions in His Word in these cases and our Christians liberty needs to take second place to obedience to God and His Word the Holy Bible where the Bible especially the New Testament is clear on what God expects of Christians on a certain issue or situation. Again the Judgment Seat of Christ or "Bema Seat" is more like the Reward Seat of the Judge in the original Greek Olympic Games where the judge would be on a raised platform and would award crowns or rewards to the winners of the different Olympic sports or events such as marathon running, wrestling and others. Believers will also be judged on how we have acted by faith and a clear conscience in debatable things and refrained from judging other Christians who have different convictions on debatable issues at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is possibly noteworthy that this August 2004 the modern Olympics are in Athens, Greece for the first time since Israel became a nation in 1948 and that in the generation since Israel became a nation all things will be fulfilled. This could mean in analogy to scripture passages about rewards and original Olympic sports in Athens, Greece that the Rapture and the Christian believer standing before the Judgment Seat of Christ immediately afterwards could be very soon. Perhaps to underline the significance of the Olympics being in Athens, Greece at this time in August 2004 for the first time since Israel became a nation was Greece beating 100-1 odds against them to win the Eurocup 2004 soccer tournament in July 2004. This was the first major soccer tournament the Greek soccer team has ever won and with many other things happening this year or recently or soon of significance to Bible prophecy, God could have ordered the circumstances especially to give Greece favour or seemingly "good luck" to score goals and not have the shots by their opponents go in their goal even though many of their opponents were rated as better teams. God could be showing He is also in control of and using sports events as signs of the soon coming for the Church at the rapture of the Lord Jesus Christ to bring us to heaven before the Great Tribulation or 70th week of Daniel starts. We are also to remember God and Jesus Christ will be given all the glory at the result of how He rewards the believers for Christian service but under Him rewarded believers will also share in some of His glory, joy and priviledge. The scripture passage about the believer's accountability to God through the Lord Jesus Christ both in our lives now and also when we stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ is in Romans 14 as follows:

Scripture Passage in Romans 14 About the Believer's Accountability only to the Lord in View of Standing Before the Judgment Seat of Christ

For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou set at nought thy(your) brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Romans 14:7-12

Description of Trying to Avoid Offending our Brother in Sister in Christ Concerning Christian Liberty in Romans 14

A basic thing Christians should remember in Christian living and decisions about Christian liberty is that God has called us foremost to a heavenly and Holy Spirit characterized life rather than a life focused on earthly, physical or natural things also in this life. So Christians should be more concerned about looking after ourselves and other Christians in our spiritual aspects such as righteousness, peace and joy of the Holy Ghost and seeking the Kingdom of God rather than what we or other believers eat or drink. We should also take into consideration whether it offends or makes weak our brother or sister in Christ with what we eat or drink. Foremost is that we are not to eat or drink or do anything else that is not of faith or in which we are condemning ourselves or have a guilty conscience or of course in some other issues that the God in the Bible has specifically spoken about one way or another. This is all part of living by faith and we need to remember that in all our acts, words or thoughts or motives we are accountable to God through Jesus Christ and for the things where we have Christian liberty only to Him although we should avoid offending our brother or sister in Christ or causing him or her to stumble. The scripture about avoiding offending our brother or sister in Christ and to instead by clear to act according to a pure conscience and by faith in Christian liberty in Romans 14 is as follows:

Scripture Passage from Romans 14 About Conscience Faith, and Avoiding Offending Fellow Christians

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. Hast thou faith? have it to thyself(yourself) before God. Happy (blessed) is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Romans 14:17, 21-23

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